In some industries, such as the foundry business, complying with the EN ISO 11612 standard is a no-brainer. Especially the D and E tests of EN ISO 11612 – which are optional tests that can be conducted – handle the most severe risks that workers in the foundry business can encounter. In this blog, we will discuss the E test of the EN ISO 11612 standard and the associated molten iron risk that will help you understand what it really means for your protective clothing.
EN ISO 11612 E: Protection against molten iron splashes
The D and E tests of the EN ISO 11612 standard are relevant for companies up in the metal supply chain (upstream). Think about blast furnaces where workers produce metals out of all kinds of ores. There are separate tests for aluminium (D) and iron (E) because of the differences associated in pouring temperature and adherence of these two metals. Pouring temperature, for example, is significant if you consider aluminium's 820 °C and iron’s 1500 °C. As you can imagine, this means that your protective clothing needs to meet very different specifications.
Another important variable that you need to know is that within the E test, there are different performance levels that can be reached. They can vary from level 1 (E1) to level 3 (E3), in which the difference lies in the used mass of molten iron during the test. With E1 the fabric can withstand 60 grams of molten iron, with E2 120 grams and with E3 200 grams. Each E-category will be tested on these 4 criteria:
- No ignition
- No puncture
- No metal adhered to the sample
- No damage to the PVC-foil that simulates the human skin
But is this test always representative for the level of stress the garment is exposed to in real life? There are other variables that will also have an effect on the test results, which we will explain in the next paragraph.
The practice of the molten iron test: Variables you need to consider
It is important to know that the level of protection of your workers is not only determined by the standards. There are quite some elements to take into consideration that can affect the safety level during work. Hereby we highlight some important insights for you to bear in mind in addition to the standard EN ISO 11612 E test:
- The effect of top and under garments that are worn
Be aware of the effect of top and under garments on the test results of your future protective clothing. You can choose to run a test combined with the top and under garments that your company provides.
- The effect of the design of the garment
During the tests, there are no seams, borders or pockets present on the fabric, which means the molten iron can directly flow off the garment. What is the effect of the garment design on the molten iron flow off?
To be sure that your workers are wearing a garment that meets the required protection level, a thorough risk assessment is the foundation for success.
Are you in doubt if your workers are well enough protected against molten iron?
The EN ISO 11612E is the right start to make sure your protective clothing meets molten iron risk requirements. But the everyday practice of your work environment affects the level of safety of your workers. Always ask yourself if the performance levels during tests will be sufficient for everyday use, and how other variables affect your workers. Does their garment cover your workers enough or can you do more to boost your safety culture?
Do you find it hard to understand all variables that affect the protection level against molten iron? In that case, ask advice from a protective clothing expert to support you. Schedule here an appointment with one of our experts to get an objective and customized advice.